Meeting Update

Please Note: Our group will NOT be meeting in May, June, July or August 2016.

JOIN US!

We have a support group for moms in the Tulsa area!

Our group meets the first Thursday of every month from 7-9p.
We welcome all moms who are parenting children who have Asperger's Syndrome.
For locations and last minute updates about meetings, check here or (even better) check our Facebook page.
We are currently meeting in the back room at Mazzio's on 51st & Sheridan in Tulsa.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to School Autism Spectrum 101

August.  
We love it so much for the continuing summer.
We don't love it so much, because it's back to school.
So what is our job as parents at this time of year?  Here are some thoughts for you!
Are your kids starting to act much more....well "spectrum-ish" right now?  That is normal and even with a now graduated kiddo, we still see that somewhat.  Our's may now tell us very clearly he had a nightmare that he was in school and all the teachers hated him :), rather than "act out", but that was a great reminder that the big transition that takes place for our kids to go back to this different schedule, still has an impact, no matter the age.
So since we didn't meet this month, and won't start back until next month.  Here's some reminders that you might think about as we go into "school mode" once again!
1)  Get your kiddo back into some sort of a schedule that sneakily makes them get acclimated to routine again.  This is for homeschoolers too!
2)  Whether they want to talk about it or not, start talking about school in the most positive terms in small "bites".
3)  Get to the school and walk them to their class (classes) while no one is there, every day, if the anxiety is high.  If you do this every day, particularly in the morning, chances are you will also meet the teacher setting up their classroom.  A very good thing.  Start doing a couple of fun worksheets at the times you will do your homeschooling...same concept!
4)  Carry your handy dandy "one sheet summary" about your kiddo with you and if you happen to run into the teacher, you can "just happen to have this with you".  Give it to them telling them what it is - NOT going over it - just telling them what it is and letting them have it.  If you homeschool, make your one sheet summary for you - so on the rough days, you will remember strengths and weaknesses when you will be too close to see it!
5) What is the one sheet summary?  It is a concise, easy to read version of who your kiddo is, at a glance.  It should contain:  Strengths (academics and personal), Challenges (academics and social) (never WEAKNESSES), "Stuff that helps" - which is a very short format for key accommodations that help with those challenges that you listed.  Make it graphic and easy to read with the headings easy to pick out.  It's basically an IEP in easy to read form that hits the high points in a positive way for the teacher that is weary of plowing through 10-15 page IEP's.
6)  Be extra patient, extra gentle but still firm about the need for school and telling your kiddos they are amazing and there are so many amazing things to learn!!

And remember...like always - your kids were created for a purpose and our job is to help them find that purpose, so saddle up!  Make it a year of promise!!

Proverbs 4:13  “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

Blessings and see you in September!
Julie

Friday, April 29, 2016

No Meetings until September 2016

We will be taking a short break.
Enjoy your summer!
See you in September!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Asperger's, High Functioning Autism and College? Yes!

All,

I am going to depart a little bit from my typical posts for this month and next due to an exciting event we have coming up for both Tulsa and Oklahoma City!

As most of you know, I have been working for the past 3 years trying to bring College programs to Oklahoma for our kids and other kids with developmental or intellectual disabilites that are running in - wait for it....

        YES, 48 OTHER STATES - but NOT Oklahoma.    YET!

I started an organization called LeadLearnLive, which started as a grass roots effort and now is in the process of becoming a formal non-profit.

What have I been doing to get this done?  Here's a quick overview:

Traveled to South Carolina to see, meet and be AMAZED at these programs.
Spoken with Directors of these programs all over the country.
Spoken at multiple state meetings.
Spoken at multiple parent group meetings.
Spoken with multiple state agency representatives.
Had meetings at the Capital with certain supporting Representatives (Thank you Rep. Nelson and Rep. Strohm! - You are awesome!)
Had meetings at the Capital with Regent staff representatives.
Had meetings at the Regent Offices. (Thank you Vice Chancellor Sonobe, you are awesome!)
Presented at an Interim Session at the Capital.
Worked on a shell bill for this effort.
Spoken with multiple college and university staff and administration representatives.
Worked with schools to turn in an application for a Federal Grant for these programs. (which sadly, we were not selected for) (ECU and Conners State, you are AWESOME!)
Met HUNDREDS of incredible, amazing, tenacious, PEOPLE - the vast majority of them MOMS that know, hope and pray that there should be and will be something in place in our state for their kids that are ready for college, and for their kids - if they are younger - that want to go to college.

So importantly, and very early in this process, I was approached by Sooner Success who wanted to partner with me to get this done.  I could not do this without them - They are AMAZING! 

So what is the plan?  
1)  I will be having a Parent meeting for those interested in truly engaging and investing in this                journey of the non-profit we are in process of forming on March 24th in Tulsa. 
2)  The main event is April 22nd.  We are bringing in the Executive Director of what is very close to        the model program we are wanting to start in Oklahoma from the College of Charleston REACH        program.  She is absolutely AMAZING, and will be speaking in Tulsa and OKC. 
3)  We are approaching foundations and will be raising the seed money to get these programs started.

That is a VERY simplified overview of what is going on with this effort.  There will be specific information released on this blog, by email, facebook, LeadLearnLive.org and other avenues in the next week.

What does all this really come down to?  The same thing I say at every meeting, at every conversation involving our kids and to everyone who will listen:
      
      God created our kids for a purpose, and we have to do everything we can to help them                 find and fulfill that purpose! 

Not all of our kids want to, or would benefit from a college experience, (just like not all of us wanted to go to college) but for those that want to and can benefit from it -  they need that opportunity - and they need it in their home state.

We are going to do this - we need all of you that have this hope - to join in!

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.          Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings,

Julie




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

That's a problem!

Problems.  I don't care for them - do you?  They tend to derail my plans, always cost time, often money, and are never welcome.  
So, why on earth would we want to spend time on a blogsite reading something about them?
Because we all have them.
Because we all see them differently.
Because we all need to deal with them.
Because there may be another way to see them.

You may be in a great place right now.  All is well, second semester of school in a groove, no transition issues right now, no big looming problems coming up, therapists all smiley about your child's progress, future looking good.  Happiness...big contented sigh.

Or....you may be struggling right now.  School is an ongoing struggle, you flinch when the phone rings and then break out in hives when you see your schools number on your phone, you grit your teeth just to make it from meltdown to meltdown, therapists use those "encouraging" words like "shifting gears", "new plan", "take a step forward, and you always move backwards a little"...things like that.  Big Sigh...not so contented.

Either way you go, there will be problems that come and go in our lives.  The Bible is clear on that...it's really not an "if" you have problems/troubles...it is a "you will have them", statement (Jn 16:33).   I'm going to poach a bit from my Pastor, and give us something to think about in regards to this word we don't like:  "Problem".

There are those out there that talk a myth that you will not have problems if you are tight with God, or a good person, or doing the right things, etc. etc.  Note the myth word in that sentence.  That is a myth.  Just like the insanity that went with the early doctors that said Autism was caused from "refrigerator mothers", also a myth!

We will all have problems in this life, so what are we going to do with them? Here is a thought (this is where I poach from my Pastor!):
Use the problem as a growth opportunity.  
I know that sounds trite, and you may be thinking "that's easy for you to say...you don't know my situation".  And, I don't.  But we all deal with different things and if we let problems overtake us and we give up to despair, then the problem wins.  I'm not in favor of the bad ever winning.  Those that know me know I can be a tad competitive...so I don't like the bad to win!
What can problems do for us?  They can develop endurance, and build our character, yes.  I think that most of all, if we allow them to, they can create real faith, or strengthen our faith.
So, what could we do in times of trouble?  I'm taking wine and reckless behavior off the table, ok?!
How about turning to a friend we know who has a strong faith?
How about looking at some scripture?
How about allowing yourself to know you are terrifically, ferociously loved by God? 
How about trusting that there is a plan, even though it may look ugly right now?

Give it some thought.  We are dealing with the reality of graduation right now...all of our safe and scheduled world of school will be radically changing, and I don't know about your ASD kiddo, but big changes are not a happy thing.  I am trying to remind him of these very things as he deals with the problem of a radically changing life schedule.  

Mostly, let's remember to remind our kids that they were made for a purpose. God does not make mistakes.  No one else can do what is planned for them to do.  We just have to do a little bit more perhaps to help them find that purpose!

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people".                 Genesis 50:20

Blessings,
Julie


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Let's Talk Resolution!

Are you a "New Year's Resolution someone"?  You know... the kind that actually gives thought to, and attempts a resolution at the beginning the the new year  I have really never been such a gal.  I know my limitations well and one of those limitations is making and sticking with a resolution! HA!

But, in light of recent experiences with many Mom's and Dad's of kids with assorted disabilities, I have something for all of us to consider.  Dare I say it?  
MAKE A RESOLUTION!

The reason?  This resolution is something all of us need to do, that are reading this post now.  If you have ever come to the Mom's group (which is tomorrow night at 7 by the way...see facebook site!) you will have heard me say many times - and I try to say it every time...
God has a plan for your child, no matter what it seems like today, there is a plan, we just thave to help them a little more than most - perhaps - to find it!

Recently, I have spoken many times at conferences, meetings, etc. about bringing the college programs to Oklahoma for our kids and kids with similar disabilities.  Every single time, I have parents come up to me with their story at the end of each engagement.  These stories are wonderful, no matter how difficult sounding, because they are the very best fuel for the flame of getting some colleges engaged to start these programs for our kids and finding the donors to make that happen. (see LeadLearnLive.org for more info!)
My message is the same as what I said above.  It never changes because I know with every fiber of my being that it is true.  So!  I wold challenge us all to have a simple but powerful resolution which is this:

I will remind myself and my child as much as possible that God created them for a reason, that there is a plan for their life, unique for them, and I will do everything I can to help them figure that out, and never let them think less for themselves.

That's not so hard now, is it?  No diet, no exercise, no painful personal confrontations, no corrective surgery :).  You can do it, I know you can!  So start today - ok?  As odd as it sounds, this is very effective on the very worst of days, btw!  So if you want to put a resolution up on the bathroom mirror to remind you to do it...put the above up there instead, and while you are at it, you can put up:

"God created me for a reason, and He has a plan for my life, unique for me!"

                                                                     on your kids mirror as well!

"For I know the plans I have for you", says the Lord "plans to profit you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".        Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year!
Blessings,
Julie

Thursday, December 3, 2015

You are CHOSEN you know!

All! I realize most of us fill in the sentence above with "chosen for WHAT?!!" on days that are not the best.  However, I am re-writing what I always do for the December post because we all need to hear it again and again. 

This was a writing that my Mom gave me several years ago, when I was struggling with the reality of all a "diagnosis" brought with it to our son and our family and his and our futures.  I love this and it is actually up in my closet so I can read it every day if I need to.  I hope you will love it too in this most precious season!!

Also wanted you to know that the Post Secondary effort is going strong.  I presented at several venues in October, November and then this week as well and continue to build educated parents as well as interested professionals and legislators.  Sooner Success and I also have met with Stand for Children as well as legislators working on funding options.  We will be in a full fledged effort to raise money to start the programs soon, so please keep talking about it, telling people and getting those you know to engage with the facebook page and register on the website as much as possible.  This will only happen if we all work together on it!

Don't ever forget that God has a plan for your child.  As one of the educators that is on a film I show in my presentations says: "There are no throw away people."  The fact that you are their parent also means your job may be more complex than most parents, but there is also a plan that you are a part of making happen that is much bigger than yourself!!  I hope this short writing is meaningful to you this season! 

Maybe God chose Mary because He knew she would be the one to fortify herself, to be embroiled in inner turmoil for the sake of this special child.  It wasn't easy raising the Son of God.  And Mary was the one who would sit at his bedside at night and look at this one who didn't look like a king and wonder "What am I supposed to do?"

"The Lord has blessed you and is with you.  Don't be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace."                        Luke 1:28, 30.

Christmas Blessings,
Julie



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's your Jordan?

Hi all you beautiful people out there!

How are things?  "Things" can be radically different for all of us on any given day, can't they?  We could be having a "sunny and 83 degree day" or a "last Spring, it will never dry up day" and everything in between.  Today I spoke to a friend who was leaving for a dream European trip, a friend with her Mom in critical condition and a friend dealing with some serious health stuff.  Today also, I had a great report for something our son stepped up to self advocate for at school, had good news about an event for the college effort we are working on and found an error at my "day job" that is not a great thing.  So there ya go!  You never know what a day will bring.

We can fill our days with "things" can't we?  They are good things, worthy things, and sticky things.  They are also sometimes things that get in the way of something we need to step out to do. We may have something we need to do, but it's a big thing to us, so we fill our time with lots of "things" and thereby, push off that "something" we need to do.

The Bible tells about Joshua - who took over leadership of his people after Moses - needing to move forward.  God told him in order to move forward he had to step in a river at flood stage - Jordan - and cross it.  What was the key to success?  Building a bridge with supernatural wood? Walking over the water like Jesus would walk on water? Building a mini ark?  No indeed.  It was to have the priests wade INTO the water.  Once the priests waded in ...the water would part and the riverbed would dry up.   It was rainy season and the river was full, moving fast and overflowing.  Why were the priests the first ones in?  Because they carried something called the "Ark of the Covenant", which was a chest of sorts that contained Holy items from God and represented God's presence with their people.  A visual reminder that if we put God first, he can do anything.  The people always went BEHIND the priests with the Ark.  That way, the people always had God in front to lead the way.  So what happened?  Just as God said...when the priests stepped in, the riverbed dried up and all others were able to cross onto dry ground.

So, what's your Jordan?  What is the "Thing" you need to step out and do, that only you can do?  Is it make that call to school and talk about how things might be tried in a different way to help your kid?  Is it to schedule a teacher conferene or IEP meeting to take care of an unpleasant subject that you would rather build a bridge than wade in for?  Is it schedule that councelor, psychologist, speech path, etc. etc. to try something new for your kid?  The inertia of being too busy with "things" to do the very task you need to tackle is a tool we may use to dodge what we know we should be doing, and what God may have in mind for us if we ever would actually wade in.  So!  I encourage you to take a look inside your heart and see if there's a Jordan you need to step into, and then know there is a mighty God that will go in front of you, if you let Him!

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.                           Joshua 3:14-17

I will miss Mom's group tomorrow night as I will be at the Owasso Transition Fair.  There is lot's going on for the college effort and I am speaking at the Oklahoma Autism Conference next weekend, so hope to see some of you there! 


Thanks so much for checking in!  

Blessings,
Julie